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T20 World Cup 2024 | "Blows don't count when playing for country": Indian captain Rohit Sharma

Updated on: 09 June,2024 01:58 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

The T20 World Cup 2024 has so far seen some of the low-scoring games in New York. During India's T20 World Cup 2024 opening match against Ireland, the Irish side was bowled out for 96 runs. This forced the International Cricket Council to issue a statement acknowledging the inconsistent nature of the track

T20 World Cup 2024 |

Indian captain Rohit Sharma (Pic: PTI)

As the mega clash of the T20 World Cup 2024, India vs Pakistan is just a few hours away, the "Men in Blue" skipper Rohit Sharma said that he has no idea what to expect from New York's pitch. "Even the curator doesn't know how it will behave", added Rohit.

The T20 World Cup 2024 has so far seen some of the low-scoring games in New York. During India's T20 World Cup 2024 opening match against Ireland, the Irish side was bowled out for 96 runs. This forced the International Cricket Council to issue a statement acknowledging the inconsistent nature of the track.

"This is not our home (ground). Yes, we have played a couple of games here, but a few of our training sessions have been washed out too. "And about the pitch, well even the curator (Damien Hough from Australia) doesn't know how the pitch will behave. It behaves differently on different days," Rohit said in the pre-match press meet ahead of Sunday's blockbuster clash.

The New York deck has offered extensive variable bounce and both Rohit and wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant suffered a few blows in the match against Ireland.

But Indian captain Rohit feels that while playing for the country, the players should be mentally tough to face such situations. "When you are playing at the highest level, all these blows that you get, I don't think it counts for anything. We saw many examples when you play in places like South Africa, Australia, and you have to cross those hurdles," he said.

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2024, IND vs PAK: The clash beyond the borders!

The skipper then evoked the Gabba (Brisbane) memories to underline his point further. "The reason we won that Gabba Test match (2021) was because of our mental toughness. The last day when we were batting on that pitch in Gabba, we saw the variable bounce there, and a lot of the batters got hit on their chest, fingers. These are the hurdles that you have to cross when you want to have success in international cricket."

Rohit Sharma wants his teammates to put the team ahead of all these external factors. "It's the World Cup. So, nothing can get bigger than this. You're playing for your nation. I think the blows that you get on your arm, finger or on head, I think that can be secondary," Rohit said.

"You need to put the team's cause first, whether it is staying out there and battling it out and getting the job done for the team," he exhorted.

Ahead of the T20 World Cup 2024 match against Pakistan, the Indian skipper said that the team sat and discussed the approach they should have on Sunday.

"I think playing good cricket holds the key no matter the opposition or the pitch. We have had lengthy chats with individuals about what the game plan can be for the batters and the bowlers as well."

The teams from the subcontinent are not used to drop-in pitches and Rohit asked his colleagues to take prudent decisions. "I said there is a lot of experience in our changing room. So, when you come across conditions like these, I expect everyone to at least try and make good decisions. Of course, it can go on either side of it," he said.

Babar Azam-led Pakistan faced a defeat in their T20 World Cup 2024 opener against the USA. However, the Indian captain did not read much into it.

"This is the speciality of T20 cricket. Anything can happen anywhere. In the last World Cup (2022), Pakistan lost to Zimbabwe. But eventually, they played the final. I'm sure they'll also think that they shouldn't make those mistakes in this match and play good cricket," he said.

As India's wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been promoted to number three in this T20 World Cup 2024, Rohit said he had made this call during the IPL 2024 itself.

"I had to look at Rishabh in just a few games in the IPL to make up my mind where he's going to bat in the World Cup. When I saw him in the first half of the tournament, I was really happy and clear that this is where he's going to bat. And yeah, with a player like him, the kind of ability he has, it's always tough to find the right number (to bat)," he said.

Rohit said Pant's counter-aggressive abilities against spinners will come in handy for the team deep into the T20 World Cup 2024. "When we have three right-handers in the top four, it's nice to have him in the middle. I think later on when we move ahead in the tournament, the spin is going to play a big part, where his counter-attacking can come into the picture in a big way. Since we don't have (Yashasvi) Jaiswal at the top, we wanted somebody in the middle who can just go and play freely," Rohit added.

Virat Kohli has been in fine form coming into the T20 World Cup 2024 but Rohit was against leaning on any one player. "I think I don't want to rely on one or two individuals to win us the game. I think everyone needs to chip in. Speaking of Virat, obviously, he didn't play the Bangladesh (warm-up) game. But he's had enough training under his belt before this game."

"He trained yesterday, didn't have a great outing in the first game, but we're not going to look into too much of that. The kind of experience he has, playing all over the world, playing in big tournaments, nothing can beat that," he said.

Speaking about the rivalry against Pakistan, the Indian captain said it is just another game for him. "Nothing has changed from the last seven months because we played them in the Asia Cup and now the World Cup. Earlier it was a different ball game because we used to play them maybe once in four years or two years."

(With PTI Inputs)

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